How to Treat Head Wounds

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Treat Head Wounds
Treat Head Wounds (Image: Creative Commons License, by: iani*5, copyright November 2007, Creative Commons License, by: Heliotrop3, copyright December 2006, Creative Commons License, by: JanneM, copyright July 2007, Creative Commons License, by: traindirector, copyright April 2007)

"Head injury" or "head wound" is a collective term that refers to any type of trauma to the parts of the head caused by a foreign or extrinsic agent. There are many types of head wounds. A closed head wound results if there is a direct blow to the head. Here the skull is not cracked open, but there is damage to the brain, because it is cast off the surface of the skull during impact (common among motor-vehicular accidents). A penetrating wound results when a foreign object passes through the skull and enters into the brain. This may be caused by a gunshot wound or a stab to the head. Skull fractures can result from a bad fall or vehicular accident. Bleeding on the surface of the head may be a part of a certain type of head injury. Minor bleeding may discontinue by itself, causing no serious damage. But major bleeding cases may need serious medical attention (surgery). The head is such a delicate area, considering that the brain is a part of it. It is important to remember that any type of head wound should be considered an emergency, whether it turns out to be serious or not. To learn more about treating head wounds, read on.

Things You'll Need

  • Ice
  • Towel
  • Clean wash cloths
  • Prescription medicines

Call 911 and attend to the wounded individual right away. Do not apply pressure if the following are present: injury to the eyes, if blood or clear fluid is leaking from the ears or nose, if there are visible bits or fragments of bones in the injured area, or if there is an apparent deformity or dent on any part of the head.

Carefully remove any object in the area of the wound and then allow the person to lie down with his head and shoulder area slightly elevated. Do this step immediately if you don't see any of the signs mentioned in Step 1. Do not clean the injured area. Just clear any obstructions that surround it. Leave the cleaning to the professionals.

Get a clean cloth and use it to press on the wound. Apply constant pressure on the wound for 15 minutes. Do not lift the cloth until the bleeding stops. If the cloth is already soaked with blood, then put another cloth on top of the old one. Do not lift the soaked cloth. Remember, constant pressure must be applied. If there is a penetrating object on the head, do not apply pressure directly on that area, but apply it around the area. Continue to apply pressure until help arrives.

Elevate the head and shoulder area of the injured person and apply ice on the injured area to decrease swelling. Ice application is an immediate response to head wounds caused by light falls, such a fall lower than the height of the person, or a fall onto a soft area.

Immediately prepare the ice and clean towel. Wrap the ice with the towel before you apply it to the surface of the head. The towel will serve as a shield between the ice and the skin of the scalp and will help avoid ice burn.

Position the wrapped ice safely on the swollen area of the head for 20 to 30 minutes. This application can be repeated every two to three hours as needed.

Rest an injured person with a minor head injury. Let her drink a lot of water, along with pain relievers to decrease the pain. Ice application can also be incorporated during rest.

Know what treatment to expect for head wounds caused by cuts. In this case, medications are applied by injection, followed by cleansing of the wound. The cut is examined further for any foreign matter that might be trapped inside the area. The wound is then closed by stitches or through the use of skin glue. Often, the victim is advised to undergo immunization for tetanus when needed.

Realize that immediate hospital admission is a must for individuals with serious head injuries. The individual may need to be closely monitored by probes that are surgically attached to the brain. These probes are used to examine the intracranial pressure of the victim. If the pressure is increasingly elevated, then there may be a need for the victim to undergo another surgery to decrease the high pressure. Such surgery is needed to save the life of the victim.

Know that constant oxygen supply is needed by a person with serious head wounds. Maintaining the supply of oxygen will prevent further damage to the brain.

Administer medicines for seizures and possible head infections. Seizure medications are taken in order to cease or treat attacks that may come with the injury. Antibiotics are needed to prevent possible infections.

Tips & Warnings

  • To avoid head injuries, make sure to wear protective head gear when doing activities like skateboarding, roller skating, cycling or motorcycle-riding.
  • Don't take any chances. Any injury to the head should be considered an emergency, whether it's serious or just due to a light fall.

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